en·​force | \ in-ˈfȯrs How to pronounce enforce (audio) , en- \
enforced; enforcing; enforces

Definition of enforce

transitive verb

1 : to give force to : strengthen
2 : to urge with energy enforce arguments
3 : constrain, compel enforce obedience
4 obsolete : to effect or gain by force
5 : to carry out effectively enforce laws

Other Words from enforce

enforceability \ in-​ˌfȯr-​sə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce enforce (audio) , en-​ \ noun
enforceable \ in-​ˈfȯr-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce enforce (audio) , en-​ \ adjective
enforcement \ in-​ˈfȯr-​smənt How to pronounce enforce (audio) , en-​ \ noun

Examples of enforce in a Sentence

Police will be enforcing the parking ban. the duty of the police is to enforce the law
Recent Examples on the Web But the administration is currently legally required to enforce the ruling, since the Supreme Court declined a request to suspend it in August. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, 2 Dec. 2021 According to city documents, staff added the position of environmental health inspector to enforce the city leaf blower ordinance. Emily Little, chicagotribune.com, 30 Nov. 2021 Representative Jamie Raskin, Democrat of Maryland and a member of the committee, said the actions against Mr. Bannon and Mr. Clark sent a clear message that the panel would strongly enforce its subpoenas. New York Times, 30 Nov. 2021 Infection rates have continued to surge, with restrictions on only part of the population difficult to enforce. Washington Post, 19 Nov. 2021 Trump even threatened to move out of the U.S. Others—including Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who contributed to its downfall on Wednesday—criticized it as unfair, unrealistic or difficult to enforce. Giacomo Tognini, Forbes, 29 Oct. 2021 Ahead of the school year, the legislature passed a budget proviso asserting no state funds could be used to enforce mask mandates, while Gov. Henry McMaster (R) denounced face coverings in schools. Hannah Natanson, Kim Mueller, Steven Burkholder, Anchorage Daily News, 12 Oct. 2021 The budget provision didn't outright ban districts from requiring masks, but said state money couldn't be used to enforce a mask requirement. NBC News, 29 Sep. 2021 The budget provision didn't outright ban districts from requiring masks, but said state money couldn't be used to enforce a mask requirement. BostonGlobe.com, 28 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'enforce.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of enforce

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for enforce

Middle English, from Anglo-French enforcer, from en- + force force

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Time Traveler for enforce

Time Traveler

The first known use of enforce was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

5 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Enforce.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enforce. Accessed 5 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for enforce



English Language Learners Definition of enforce

: to make (a law, rule, etc.) active or effective : to make sure that people do what is required by (a law, rule, etc.)
: to make (something) happen : to force or cause (something)


en·​force | \ in-ˈfȯrs How to pronounce enforce (audio) \
enforced; enforcing

Kids Definition of enforce

1 : to make happen He tried to enforce cooperation.
2 : to carry out or make effective enforce a law

Other Words from enforce

enforcement \ –mənt \ noun


transitive verb
enforced; enforcing

Legal Definition of enforce

: to cause to take effect or to be fulfilled enforcing the divorce decree Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislationU.S. Constitution amend. XIX

More from Merriam-Webster on enforce

Nglish: Translation of enforce for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of enforce for Arabic Speakers


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